December 20, 2019: Oppenheim + Zebrak, LLP (“O+Z”) won a major victory for the music industry yesterday in an important copyright litigation against Cox Communications, the 8th largest Internet Service Provider in the United States. After a multi-week jury trial, O+Z obtained a one billion dollar verdict for its clients.
O+Z represented the three major record companies and music publishers, including Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Sony/ATV Music Publishing and EMI Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group, and Warner Chappell Music.
The jury found Cox liable for contributory and vicarious copyright infringement, by knowingly contributing to, and reaping substantial profits from, massive copyright infringement on its network committed by tens of thousands of its subscribers. The case included over 10,000 copyrights, and was tried in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia before an 8-person jury. The jury found Cox willfully liable on all claims and awarded $99,830.29 in statutory damages per work infringed, for a total award of one billion dollars.
The case is a major victory for the music industry in its effort to have Internet Service Providers take infringement on their networks seriously. Cox received hundreds of thousands of infringement notices identifying subscribers who were using its Internet service to illegally download, copy, and distribute copyrighted music. But instead of addressing that infringement responsibly, Cox allowed those known infringing subscribers to continue to use its network to infringe, while collecting hundreds of millions of dollars from them in the process.
“It was a privilege to represent our clients in this important matter, and we are pleased that the jury recognized the merits of our clients’ claims,” said Matthew Oppenheim of Oppenheim + Zebrak, LLP, lead attorney for the record labels and music publishers.
The case is Sony Music Entertainment, et al. v. Cox Communications, Inc. et al., case number 1:18-cv-950, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division. The Oppenheim + Zebrak trial team was led by Matthew J. Oppenheim, Scott A. Zebrak, Jeffrey M. Gould, and Lucy G. Noyola. The team also included Corey Miller, Andrew Guerra, Jia Ryu, Michael Druckman, and Steve King.